The rural Northwest Ohio life is more than corn fields and small towns, it is one built on wholesome values and a sense of close-knit community that molds and shapes a young person’s life.
For Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted who was recently sworn in for his second term, his small town roots can be traced back to the Northwest Ohio town of Montpelier. Husted, the son of Jim and Judy Husted, grew up outside of Montpelier on County Road J doing what many typical kids did. He hunted and fished. He spent summers playing Little League baseball on the Lions team and swimming at the city pool. He played football, basketball, and baseball. He experienced football successes in the NWOAL league both his junior and senior years in high school. “I was playing sports all the time,” he recalls.
After graduating from Montpelier High School, Husted journeyed to the University of Dayton to play college football. His one dream in life following high school graduation was to earn a National Championship college football title. By the age of twenty-one, he had accomplished this dream as well as receiving the All-American Defensive Back honors. He graduated with his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Dayton.
From there, he served as the Vice President of Business and Economic Development at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce before being elected in 2000 as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Four years later, his colleagues elected him to the position of Speaker of the Ohio House, making him one of the youngest ever to lead the body.
His success in Ohio government continued, but Jon Husted never anticipated he would find himself as the Ohio Secretary of State. He credits his small town values of hard work, personal responsibility, faith, and determination to the success he has experienced. “The further I go, the more I appreciate where I came from. I still draw on my small town roots,” Husted affirms.
Husted believes what sets a small town apart from the city is that in a small town, you don’t have the option to be anonymous. This helps to hold a person to a degree of accountability. Small towns generally encompass a set of values and a safe community. His favorite songs have references to his small town connections. The song “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean was played as he walked onto the stage when he won re-election as Secretary of State.
Husted returns to his hometown of Montpelier to visit as often as he is able to visit family and friends, speak with citizens, and give back to the school he graduated from. Recently, he spoke at a spring sports assembly. “I told the kids that the great thing about America is that you can be anything. You have to believe but you have to work. If I can do it, anyone can. You have to want it, to fight for it, to work, to make sacrifices, but you can achieve it.”
Secretary Husted and his wife Tina are the parents of three children Alex, Katie, and Kylie whom are being raised with the same small town values and virtues he guides his life by. He is honored and humbled that every year, his largest winning percentage is in Williams County. “I know the connection is personal. I’m very proud of Northwest Ohio.”
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